Sustainable Cities Awards 2021
Young Legend Finalists

Sam Higgins
Sam very fortunately received an electric trike from the Dylan Alcott Foundation in January 2020. When he began riding around his 5km radius in lockdown, Sam experienced independence like never before, and his self-confidence grew exponentially.

Sam won ABC TakeOver Melbourne in June 2020, a story-telling competition which allowed Sam to tell this story, in his words. Sam has an innate ability and desire to engage with anyone who crosses his path, and passionately believes that ‘kids with a disability should be able to do whatever they want (to do)’.

Through the Dylan Alcott Foundation, and the ABC, Sam’s trike riding has demonstrated the new heights that can be reached by young people with disabilities.

The Trike that Stops the Nation is a series of six digital interviews, with Sam talking to other young people with disabilities, giving them a voice and platform to show what they are capable of, in the same way as he has been afforded. Sam was awarded the Young Bayside Citizen of the Year, for being a role model to other children and young people.

 

Berat Kaya
When Berat came to Australia a couple years ago, he didn’t have any friends and did not speak English, but he wanted to have a place in the community by helping and supporting others.

Brotherhood of Saint Laurence (BSL) workers discovered Berat and he became a BSL volunteer by becoming involved in national and international activities with young people: camps, workshops and community development projects.

Through his involvement, Berat wanted to be a good individual, role model and citizen.

Berat faced problems such as racism, isolation from society and worries about the future, but gained motivation by rising above them. This motivation has allowed Berat to collaborate as a citizen, photographer or youth worker with Hume City, Victoria Football, Whittlesea Council, L2P, AAMES and Kangan Institute.

In this short period of time, Berat was honoured to be awarded with “Most responsible student in the class” (Kangan Institute), “Youth in the North” (BSL), “Accessibility and Inclusivity Award” (Kangan Institute) and this year on Australia day “Young Citizen of the Year” (Hume) Award.

 

Zoe Attard
Specialist Hoops
Specialist Hoops engage people living with disabilities within the City of Melton and Moorabool Shire (Bacchus Marsh) to participate in the sport of Basketball in a safe, controlled and non-judgmental environment.

The program has over 60 participants between the ages of 5 and 35 across its two locations and is constantly growing. The program is currently in its third year of weekly fulltime programs, with the intention to branch out into Ten Pin Bowling and Wheelchair basketball.

Zoe began volunteering for the program in 2018 when she was only 14 years old. She is now the seniors’ head coach and has a remarkable connection with every participant.

Zoe shows a maturity well beyond her age and leadership qualities that people look up to. She has the burning desire to include and motivate people to get up and participate even when they don’t want to! Zoe is always the first to put her hand up to help and share her extensive knowledge of the game.

Zoe also referees within the community along with being an aspiring footballer who also finds time to complete her year 12.

 

Liam Foldi
Kenshi Candles
Kenshi Candles is a social enterprise started by Liam in 2017, with the goal of raising money for FareShare (charity kitchen in Abbotsford) and other local charities.

After reading about some other social enterprises, the concept of raising money through regular purchases as opposed to relying on generous donations really appealed to Liam.

After expanding from the kitchen to the family garage, eventually Liam couldn’t keep up with demand on their own and in early 2019 was introduced to the Chin Community in St Albans, who are refugees from Chin State in Myanmar. Now, the candles are made with their assistance which allows Liam spend more time growing the business and also provides a few members of their community with a much needed income.

In the last few years, Kenshi has raised over $65,000 for several local, national and international charities.

 

Felix Jia
Little Protectors
Felix has been working on the beach, alone and with other volunteers, since 2018.

He has shown himself to be a leader that has encouraged people to take a bigger interest in their local environmental health and the plight of our fragile sea life and local ecologies. His regular weekly trips (86 hours so far) have resulted in the collection of over 460kg of rubbish (13800 pieces).

Through his social media channels on Facebook or his Little Protectors website, he has documented his adventures and some of the crazy things he has found and removed so they are no longer hazards to the beachgoers of Mentone, Parkdale and Mordialloc beaches.

His biggest achievement is the goal he has in his heart to protect the sea creatures. Felix has pursued this passion for a quarter of his life so far and has no intentions of stopping.

 

Nathaniel Diong
Future Minds Network
Founded by Nathaniel Diong, Future Minds Network runs entrepreneurship programs across the world. They have equipped 11,000 young people with essential entrepreneurial skills for the changing job market, whilst helping them build businesses solving community issues.

Future Minds Network focuses on what “can” youth do. It empowers them to develop solutions and create long-term impact in their communities across Australia, UK, US, Estonia, Finland. Students launch businesses from 3D-printed faceshields fighting COVID19 to Letters Against ISO (LAISO), which has sent 10000 encouragement letters to tackle loneliness for the elderly.

During COVID, all programs got cancelled and the group needed to reinvent the program and ended up having their biggest year.

They brought in award-winning entrepreneurs who raised millions and met Obama to teach students. This amplifies the programs’ impact by building young people’s professional networks.

This entrepreneurship education model creates employment and helps youth rediscover their love of learning.

 

Ballarat Youth Services
Fabric Forest and Our Shared Wardrobe
This nomination includes two projects which were created to visually demonstrate the impact that textile waste, and by extension, human activity, is having on our planet; and offer a practical solution to the problem that we have created.

The first project is called the ‘Fabric Forest’ which is an interactive art installation incorporating both natural elements, like twigs and sticks, with fabric that can no longer be restored or recycled. This art aims to visually represent how human activity has irreversibly made an impact on how we live, and the natural surrounds, thus we are the only solution to the problem.

One chosen is to offer a clothes swap, called ‘Our Shared Wardrobe’, which follows a format of exchanging unloved, but still in good condition, clothing for buttons, which can then be used as a currency for ‘buying’ other peoples’ unloved clothing. This creates a financially accessible solution to reducing textile waste, demonstrating that environmentally sustainable methods do not need to be economically exclusive or expensive.

 

Four Golden Hearts
Four Golden Hearts was founded five years ago as a local community group to support children and families experiencing severe hardship. Each Golden Heart represents the founders’ four children.

Four Golden Hearts wanted a long-term initiative to teach their children kindness, compassion and the true meaning of life – to help others who are less fortunate.

The group primarily provides aid to locals and charities as needed. They run and support a number of ongoing campaigns on a weekly basis including providing family-size toiletry packs to St Kilda Mums; receiving, sorting and distributing children’s clothing, books and toys; and running a yearly winter coat campaign to provide second hand warm clothing to children in need.

Overall 2021 Sustainable City Finalists

  • Greater Geelong
  • Yarra Rangers